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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Mar. 24, 2011
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A Crime Not Worth the Time

Police in Princess Anne, Md., arrested George Ballard, 25, inside a PNC Bank at 11 p.m. on Jan. 25 after a motion detector set off an alarm. Officers said the "cash" Ballard allegedly was in the process of taking was in fact a stack of fake bills the bank uses for training.

Latest Religious Messages

  • "I thought, 'Man, is this what Jesus would do?'" repo man Ken Falzini said after surviving a short, harrowing ride in January in which he clung to the hood of the Lexus he was trying to repossess from Bishop Marc Neal of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Akron, Ohio. Neal's attorney, whose client has been charged with felony assault, said he thought it was "disrespectful" for Falzini to try to repossess a preacher's car during Sunday services. Falzini said Neal was "laughing" during parts of the drive, which reportedly included sharp zigzagging in an attempt to dislodge Falzini from the hood.
  • Last year Colin Howell was convicted for the double murder of his wife and his girlfriend's husband. In Britain's Coleraine Crown Court in February, Howell testified at the girlfriend's trial for the same crimes that he frequently drugged her during their sex sessions. She had requested to be unconscious during sex, according to Howell, so that she would not be bothered by "Christian guilt" over the extramarital affair they were having. (The trial was ongoing at press time.)

The Redneck Chronicles

(1) An unnamed man was taken to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., in February with a gash on his face and a bullet in his sinus cavity. KOKI-TV reported that police think "he might have been chewing on a firecracker or a bullet" when it exploded. (2) A 50-year-old woman was arrested in February in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., after managers at a Family Dollar store accused her of walking out without paying for packages of baking soda and dishwashing detergent and a pair of thong panties (the total value of the items, according to Family Dollar, was $7.50).

Cultural Diversity

  • The essential uniform of ambitious Chinese businessmen now includes a leather designer purse, reported the Los Angeles Times in a February dispatch from Beijing. Reportedly, high-end sellers "can't believe their luck" now that "both sexes in the world's most populous country adore purses." The Coach company will have 53 stores in China by mid-year, and Hermes and Louis Vuitton are so optimistic that they built stores in less-prosperous reaches of the country. (Apparently, only authentic designer items lend businessmen credibility. But for the export market, China remains a world leader in brand-name knockoffs.)
  • In February, the lower house of Russia's parliament approved legislation to classify beer, for the very first time, as an alcoholic beverage. Traditionally, because of the dominance of the vodka industry, beer has been regarded as closer to a soft drink.

A News of the Weird Classic

Republican consultant Doug Guetzloe, one of central Florida's most prominent political operatives—and a subject of investigations by the Florida Elections Commission and an expressway commission in Orlando—had long infuriated prosecutors who were certain that he had a hand in unethical campaigns. However, late in 2006, Guetzloe missed a payment on his rental storage locker, and 50 boxes of his professional and personal records were seized and auctioned for $10 to a curious citizen. The citizen then gave the records to Orlando's WKMG-TV, which had several investigations of Guetzloe still open. Based on early readings of the storage-locker papers, Guetzloe was indicted for felony perjury.

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd


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